Experts Agree: You Should Probably Retire in Florida

The Sunshine State has a lot going for it.

When it comes to picking a place to retire, there are endless factors to consider. Your pick, after all, determines where you'll spend those golden years once you're done working and ready to enjoy all life has to offer. Some people plan to age in place and retire in the same community they've lived in for years, while others plan to pack up and live somewhere brand new while they can. But beyond those wishful dreams of your perfect retirement spot are the logistical considerations: Where can you afford to retire? Where will you have access to the services you need as you age?

Though picking where you'll retire can help you better target your retirement savings and investment strategies—if you plan to retire somewhere with a low cost of living, you'll have to save less, after all—it's not always a priority. Planning for retirement is usually more about saving for retirement and making savvy financial moves to make sure you can afford to retire at all; deciding where to retire can often be an afterthought.

Still, even if picking your retirement location feels years away, it's hard to avoid mentions of Florida, wherever you are in your retirement planning. For decades now, the concept of retiring to Florida has been a half-joke, half-truth, and expert opinion continues to support the idea that you should probably retire to Florida.

In its annual ranking of the best places to retire in 2021 and 2022, U.S. News listed eight Florida cities in the top 10 places to retire, with Sarasota, Naples, Daytona Beach, and Melbourne sweeping the top four spots. Dave Ramsey's website picked Fort Myers and Sarasota as the top two cities for retirement, WalletHub's list of 2021's Best States to Retire had Florida at number one, and Travel + Leisure's most recent ranking of the 11 best cities to retire in the U.S. included four Florida cities. Plenty of experts agree: Retiring to Florida is a pretty smart move.

What's so great about Florida? Beyond its much-touted great weather, it's affordable, it offers a high quality of life, and it has decent healthcare resources. Plus, Florida has no state income tax, which helps with the affordability factor, and it has a huge population of retirees—and all the amenities and services they demand. What's not to love?

In reality, picking a place to retire calls for a lot more than taking the advice of some ranking, even if that ranking does pull from expert opinion. You want to pick somewhere you'll be comfortable; you might want to be somewhere with people who share your political beliefs, or you may want to stay near family. You'll want to pick a place that will support you in your endeavor to live out your retirement dreams, whatever you want out of retirement—but if you're not sure where that place is yet, Florida might be a good place to start looking.

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